Food Waste, Ramadan and the Middle East

With the holy month of Ramadan only a few days away, huge food wastage in the Middle East is again hogging limelight. It is a widely acccepted fact that almost half of the municipal solid waste stream in the Middle East is comprised of food wastes and associated matter. The increasing amount of food waste in the Middle East urgently demands a strong food waste management strategy to ensure its minimization and eco-friendly disposal.  Food Waste in Ramadan Middle East nations are acknowleded as being the world’s top food wasters, and during Ramadan the situation takes a turn for the worse. In 2012, the Dubai Municipality … Continue reading

Muslims and the Environment: A Mischance

The detachment of the modern-day man from the environment can be attributed to the desacralization of nature, and the modernist destitution of the inner state of the soul which, according to the scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr in ‘Man and Nature’, accounts for the phenomenon of the ‘prostitution of nature’: “For modern man, nature has become like a prostitute ─to be benefited from without any sense of obligation and responsibility toward her.” Eradication of Natural World Mankind has surrounded itself with square walls and barren concrete structures for the sake of creating this artificial industrial world. Its constant need to feed … Continue reading

Islamic Principles on Waste Minimization

Since the beginning of time, waste has been an environmental issue for humans. Waste is often equated with trash, but even before the existence of trash, there was waste. Understanding the various forms of waste can help us identify ways to avoid and reduce it. Muslims have had lessons on avoiding and reducing waste for over 1,400 years and we can all benefit from the guidance offered in Islam through Quranic injuctions and Prophet’s Sunnah. The Holy Quran says: It is He Who has brought into being gardens, the cultivated and the wild, and date-palms, and fields with produce of all … Continue reading

Environmental Sustainability in Islam

Islamic beliefs, traditions and values provide an effective and comprehensive solution to the current environmental challenges faced by the human race. Islam has a rich tradition of highlighting the importance of environmental protection and conservation of natural resources. According to Islamic law, the basic elements of nature – land, water, fire, forest, and light – belong to all living things, not just human beings. The Holy Qur’an and Sunnah are a guiding light to promote sustainable development in Islamic countries as well as around the world. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) commands human beings to avoid doing mischief and wasting resources … Continue reading

4 Things Every Muslim Should Do For The Planet

When it comes to our responsibilities as Muslims in protecting the planet, there are no blurred lines. As citizens of this planet, it is our obligation to do our part, both as individuals and as a community. This means, that we look environmental sustainability in the eye – that we begin to introspect our lifestyles, and make choices that are compatible with the well being of our home and the teachings of our faith. If you’re new to this conversation, then here’s my invitation for you: continue reading. Here are some of my top tips to help every Muslim embark … Continue reading

Working Towards a Greener Eid Al-Adha Qurbani

In Islam, there are many basic acts that are expected by devout Muslims, also known as the Five Pillars of Islam. These include declaring your faith (Shahadah), performing daily ritual prayers (Salat), paying forward charity to those in need (Zakat), fasting during the month of Ramadan (Sawm) and undertaking the pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj). With each of these responsibilities, Muslims can feel closer to Allah and feel satisfied that they are living a responsible and good life according to the expectations of Islam. By taking part in these acts and showing their generosity, there are certain special occasions that Muslims … Continue reading

Towards an Eco-Friendly Eidul Adha

Eidul Adha, like other religious festivals, often has a major impact on the environmental resources. Extra food, drinks and clothes are made, used and consumed which results in a major environmental footprint. The celebrations and festivity are often extravagant and cause pollution of different forms. The day starts with the special prayers whereby men, women and children gather to offer prayers. The site of praying after the ritual is often plagued by litter, rubbish and waste scattered all over the place and even blowing in the air and migrating to nearby safe heavens for unaesthetic and unhygienic accumulations. Muslims on Eid … Continue reading

The Islamic Discourse on Climate Change

Global ecological trends show that we face the risk of tipping points and irreversible changes in the environment and in its capacity to support and sustain human life in all its dimensions.  This state of imbalance and pollution is referred to as “fassad” in Islam which is attributed to human-made actions. Transforming society and the world’s economy to a sustainable basis presents the most significant challenge to the 21st century. It is inspiring to harness local knowledge and culture to inform sustainability. Islam as a worldview and a way of life can provide a fresh outlook to human-environmental in a … Continue reading

Islam and Environmental Protection: A Fresh Perspective

There is an inseparable relation between the environment and our soul. It will be great if Muslims in particular and the wider world in general learn from the Holy Scriptures, like the Holy Qur’an and Hadith, to try to wage an eco-friendly jihad (noble effort) to promote environmental balance and stability. This will be the true jihad to please God and ensure easy entry to heaven, in the existing world, not to speak of the hereafter. Thus, we can taste the bliss of heaven on this planet before we chance upon the eternal paradise. Quran and Environmentalism The Holy Qur’an … Continue reading

Miswaak – The Natural Toothbrush Tree of Arabia

Miswaak is an organic toothbrush which is readily available, inexpensive, easy-to-use and inherently natural. It is can be easily adopted by Muslims as well as people from other faiths as an attractive green alternative to the modern toothbrush for maintaining oral hygiene. Miswaak or Siwak is the Arabic common name for twigs of Aarak trees (botanical name Salvadora persica). The use of the Miswaak can be traced back to the pre-Islamic times; hence, the influence of Islam on the usage and spread of Miswaak in the world is significant. Muslim Miswaak users have taken it as a device that should be … Continue reading

Environmental Initiatives in Middle East – Challenges and Remedies

Environmental protection has become an increasingly important item on the social and economic policy agenda of Middle East nations. As I read last week’s piece titled “Environmental Impacts of Plastic Bags” I was struck by the succinct summary of the main problems with the ongoing use of plastic bags and how their effects can be felt in many ways, some widely publicized and others not. The article prompted a series of reflections upon other environmental initiatives emerging in the Middle East and North Africa, especially in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. In this article, I wish to share my … Continue reading

Green Ahadith – Ecological Advice from Prophet Muhammad

Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, is one of the most, if not the only one who reached a pinnacle of success by not only verbally teaching, but stringently applying Islamic principles of ecological welfare. His concern for preserving nature was so consistent that history reports the only time he cut down plants were the palm trees in Madina to impede the Jewish tribe Banu Nadhir. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, categorically taught people to live on less, to protect animal and plant life, and to worship the Creator by being merciful to the creation. What is … Continue reading